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Our 2022 outlook for UX/UI design strategies

Dec 07, 2021

By Angela Moreno, head of UX/UI design

In 2020, companies that were slow to embrace digital strategies found they had no other choice but to jump in. COVID-19 upended business as usual. Having a digital presence became table stakes for surviving in a pandemic economy.

But a digital presence alone does not guarantee an audience, brand-loyal fans or even engaged employees. The past year proved that the pandemic has permanently altered expectations for how we shop, where we work and how we interact with each other. The ability to order just about anything or accomplish any task from a mobile device is no longer novel; it’s a commodity experience. And if that experience isn’t user friendly, consumers will go elsewhere.

As a result, more companies are taking note of the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) principles driving their digital strategies. The emphasis on UX/UI is intensifying as business leaders evaluate their next steps in the digital realm. It’s a matter of time before video conferences and e-commerce platforms give way to virtual offices and stores populated by digital avatars. Understanding how to create experiences where people – customers, employees, students, even patients – feel comfortable, connected and recognized will be imperative.

With that in mind, here are seven UX/UI design trends to watch in 2022:

Dynamic animation: 3D animation and micro-animations are emerging as foundational tools for user engagement. Because animation can transform static technology design into tactile digital experiences, it creates opportunities to replicate physical activities and experiences in the digital realm. Even relatively simple animations – like a spray of confetti when a user submits a form – can bring joy, invite exploration and create a living, breathing relationship with the devices and apps people use every day.

Personalized experiences: People respond favorably to digital experiences that respond to them – whether they are greeted by name when they launch an app or their preferred settings are remembered when they visit a site. Companies will need to sharpen their focus on how people interact with their devices and move through digital spaces. The key will be delivering a unified experience that is accessible to everyone yet that can be customized to the individual.

Verbal UX: Just as companies are starting to perfect responsive design for smaller screens, people are putting down their phones in favor of new smart devices. This means verbal interaction will increasingly become a facet of branding strategies for building and maintaining consumer relationships. Watch for new approaches to emerge that wrap experiences around how people talk to their devices.

Design to scale: Scalability is a perennial driver for UX/UI design. But as devices proliferate, experiences need to be consistent not only across screen sizes, but also across technologies. Long-term business strategies also need to be factored into design to ensure that apps launched today can accommodate growth and new capabilities down the road.

Resonant design: People want their digital interactions to be memorable and engaging. Designers are responding by ditching the minimalistic aesthetic that has long dominated app design for richer colors, mixed fonts, more words and larger images. Companies have license to get creative with app design – provided they still adhere to solid UX/UI principles.

New realities: After spending years making limited inroads in different industries, virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR) are poised to take center stage in 2022. These technologies will elevate how people interact with friends, customers, products, content and more in the digital world. Companies are already embracing AR as a means to bring their products and services close to home. VR will take work-from-home strategies to the next level, creating spaces where people who are separated by miles and even time zones can work side by side. Creating meaningful, personalized and frictionless experiences that drive user adoption will require the thoughtful combination of multiple UX/UI strategies.

Research-based design: Companies that want to elevate their digital engagement game should look for a design team that is willing to dig in and study what users need and want. The challenge, of course, is keeping up with consumers’ changing expectations and new technological capabilities. For that reason, research-driven design will become a differentiator as companies strive to bridge that gap between expectations and actual experience, between virtual environments and genuine engagement. Those who get it right will have an edge as we boldly step into a more digital, more connected and more virtual future.

How Wipfli can help

Our UX/UI team at Wipfli can supercharge your customer engagement. Based on insightful user research and real-world usability testing, we craft exceptional experiences to delight your customers and spark fully measurable growth. Learn more on our UX/UI services web page.